December 17, 2015
For immediate release
Ottawa, December 17, 2015 – Today Senator Thanh Hai Ngo issued the following statement:
“I am very concerned that the Vietnamese police placed human rights lawyer Nguyen Van Dai into custody on December 16, 2015, and charged him under Article 88 of the Penal Code for “conducting propaganda against the state of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.” Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security presented these accusations against him while revoking his legal licence and searching his private residence. These charges were laid soon after he and colleagues were brutally assaulted for delivering a small workshop on human rights.
“The Vietnamese authorities should immediately release Nguyen Van Dai and drop these charges against him. The arrest of this well-known journalist and founder of the Committee for Human Rights known for his online criticism of communist leadership and policies in Vietnam is the latest incident in an alarming crackdown on government critics. Close to 130 other political prisoners, such as Father Nguyen Van Ly, Mr. Tran Huynh Duy Thuc, Ms. Do Thi Minh Anh, Mr. Nguyen Quang Lap, Mr. Doan Huy Chuong and Ms. Bui Thi Minh Hang, are also serving harsh prison sentences for simply voicing their opinions in Vietnam.
“This unacceptable crackdown on dissent and the direct public targeting of human rights activists for the so-called offence of ‘spreading propaganda against the communist state’ is occurring as the ruling Communist Party prepares for its momentous 12th National Congress next month, when it is expected to reshuffle its top three positions and make important changes to its foreign policy.
“Human rights issues are not to be downplayed by Canada, which cannot remain silent as intimidation and violence against bloggers and rights activists worsened significantly during 2015.
“As the Government of Canada engages closely with Vietnam through trade pacts, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, it absolutely must stand as a true human rights champion and show leadership in human rights protection and the promotion of democracy by guiding the communist one-party nation down a path of reform and towards a free and democratic Vietnam.”
For more information on the human rights situation in Vietnam please consult:
- Our annual Human Rights Report: https://senatorngo.ca/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/FINAL-English-HR-Booklet.compressed.pdf